Tv Evaluation: ‘Red Steel,’ on PBS, Revisits a 1913 Mining Strike

December 17th, 2013

Michigan Technological University Archives

Crimson Metallic This documentary, on Tuesday night on PBS, revisits a bitter 1913 mining strike in Calumet, Mich.

This has been a year of notable 50th anniversaries, but time didn’t start in 1963. A sorrowful PBS documentary on Tuesday night notes the 100th anniversary of an function neglected by a lot of the region but not by the people of Michigan’s Higher Peninsula: a miners’ strike that led to a catastrophic stampede in which 73 individuals died, most of them kids.

A sortable calendar of noteworthy cultural functions in the New York area, chosen by Instances critics.

The system, “Red Metal: The Copper Region Strike of 1913,” is pretty generic as documentaries go, but in an age of battles over the minimum wage and concern about the distribution of prosperity, it resonates. An arranging work by the Western Federation of Miners led miners in and about Calumet to strike in July, and the businesses (the Calumet and Hecla Mining Firm was the greatest) ended up unyielding.

Wages — $ three a day — ended up an situation, and so was a new 1-guy drilling device. Previously miners experienced labored in pairs, and they observed the new technological innovation as both costing employment and escalating threat in an presently dangerous career, since with out a companion an hurt miner could go without having support for hours.

At first the staff and their family members plunged into the strike with an enthusiasm that is seldom observed in today’s much more timid labor teams, and females took an uncharacteristically vocal position, partly in the hope that firm enforcers wouldn’t defeat them the way they had been beating their husbands.

“These females would be out there shouting impolite things that girls should not be expressing,” notes Alison K. Hoagland, a historian. “They would dip their brooms in the outhouse and smear the strikebreakers with it.”

On Christmas Eve an unsightly strike turned considerably uglier when, at a get together for miners’ kids in a constructing known as the Italian Corridor, somebody — a prankster? a strikebreaker? — yelled fire. There was no fireplace, but there was a deadly stampede.

Steve Earle sings Woody Guthrie’s “1913 Massacre” to end the film. In a new age of inequality, it feels like each a remembrance and a warning of what takes place when opposing sides won’t speak.

Purple Metal: The Copper Region Strike of 1913

On PBS stations on Tuesday evening (check out regional listings).

Presented by Detroit General public Television. Made, prepared and directed by Jonathan Silvers Richard Harris, narrator.

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